Coordinating the removal of RNA-DNA hybrids

Two research teams led by Professors Brian Luke and Helle Ulrich at the Institute of Molecular Biology have deciphered how two enzymes, RNase H2 and RNase H1, are coordinated to remove RNA-DNA hybrid structures from chromosomes. ...

Study tracks evolutionary history of metabolic networks

By analyzing how metabolic enzymes are built and organized, researchers have reconstructed the evolutionary history of metabolism. Their study shows how metabolic networks—which drive every cellular process from protein ...

Researchers find 'protein-scaffolding' for repairing DNA damage

At the University of Copenhagen, researchers have discovered how some types of proteins stabilize damaged DNA and thereby preserve DNA function and integrity. This new finding also explains why people with inborn or acquired ...

Transforming DNA repair errors into assets

A new bioinformatics tool, MHcut, developed by researchers in Kyoto, Japan, and Montreal, Canada, reveals that a natural repair system for DNA damage, microhomology-mediated end joining, is probably far more common in humans ...

Researchers identify mechanism controlling DNA repair

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), is the macromolecule that holds all hereditary and genetic information. Continuously under assault, alterations and damage to DNA can lead to many different health issues, including cancer. DNA ...

Opening the hatch to heal the break

LMU researchers have determined the structure of a key enzyme complex that is involved in DNA repair, and traced the cycle of conformational changes that it undergoes while performing its biochemical function.

Smart interaction between proteins

Very little was known till now about DNA repair by homologous recombination, which is fundamental for human health. Now an ETH research group has for the first time isolated and studied all the key proteins involved in this ...

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DNA repair

DNA repair refers to a collection of processes by which a cell identifies and corrects damage to the DNA molecules that encode its genome. In human cells, both normal metabolic activities and environmental factors such as UV light and Radiation can cause DNA damage, resulting in as many as 1 million individual molecular lesions per cell per day. Many of these lesions cause structural damage to the DNA molecule and can alter or eliminate the cell's ability to transcribe the gene that the affected DNA encodes. Other lesions induce potentially harmful mutations in the cell's genome, which affect the survival of its daughter cells after it undergoes mitosis. Consequently, the DNA repair process is constantly active as it responds to damage in the DNA structure.

The rate of DNA repair is dependent on many factors, including the cell type, the age of the cell, and the extracellular environment. A cell that has accumulated a large amount of DNA damage, or one that no longer effectively repairs damage incurred to its DNA, can enter one of three possible states:

The DNA repair ability of a cell is vital to the integrity of its genome and thus to its normal functioning and that of the organism. Many genes that were initially shown to influence lifespan have turned out to be involved in DNA damage repair and protection. Failure to correct molecular lesions in cells that form gametes can introduce mutations into the genomes of the offspring and thus influence the rate of evolution.

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